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American Bandstand

1952-1989
"It's Got a Good Beat"

American Bandstand was more than a dance show, it introduced many major musical talents of the late fifties and early sixties.

American Bandstand began as a local show in Philadelphia. Guiding its success was Richard W. Clark, known simply as Dick Clark. He turned a daily dance show into an national institution, and helped the careers of many singers and musicians along the way. Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jackie Wilson, James Brown and many others were featured on his show.

Clark, known as the 'oldest teenager', has become an icon is now celebrating his 50th year in the entertainment industry. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.



Brown vs. Board

1954
Brown vs. Board

In the early 50's, most public schools in America were segregated. Proponents of segregation claimed that the system was not discriminatory because the level of education provided was the same: "separate but equal."

In 1954, the NAACP brought suit against the Topeka, Kansas Board of Education on behalf of Linda Brown, a Black third-grader who had to walk one mile through a railroad switchyard to get to school, even though there was a White school only a few blocks away.

The case was eventually heard by the Supreme Court, which overturned previous decisions in this area by ruling that the "separate but equal" principle did not hold true for public education. The decision paved the way for the federal government's later efforts to integrate public schools.



Dodger Stadium

1957
California, Here They Come

The site for Dodger Stadium was chosen in 1957 during a helicopter ride over Los Angeles, by Dodger owner Walter OMalley and a county supervisor. They flew over an empty 300-acre lot at Chavez Ravine, surrounded by freeways and near the center of the downtown district. O'Malley is said to have pointed and asked, "Can I have that one?" The supervisor said, "No problem."

Unfortunately, the area wasn't completely empty, and families were kicked out and their homes demolished to make way for the stadium. While the story isn't part of the official history, it's still remembered by the people of Chavez Ravine who felt powerless against the forces of economics and city politics.


The Bus Boycott

1955-1956
We Still Have a Long Way to Go

The Mongomery Bus Boycott started when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a White man on a public bus. Parks was arrested and this set off a demonstration that would last for 381 days. People walked or shared rides to show that Negroes would no longer accept paying to ride on only the back of the bus, or giving up their seats when the bus was overcrowded.

Rosa Park's arrest and trial led to a Supreme Court ruling that segregation on public transportation was unconstitutional, a blow to the Jim Crow laws of the South. The success of the boycott, which nearly bankrupted the bus company in Montgomery, Alabama, helped spark the civil rights movement to end segregation and unequal treatment in the United States.



The Twist

1959
Most Vulgar Dance Ever Invented

The devil's music (Rock&Roll) started having dances to go along with his music and one of most the popular dances was the "Twist". A young man named Ernest Evans known to all as "Chubby Checker" led teenagers and their skeptical parents out on the dance floor. The twist had fasions to go along with it and one could also get a good workout dancing the twist. The Twist was danced at the White House and Buckingham Palace, this dance had the whole world shaking.

The original recording of the Twist was written and performed by Hank Ballard and The Midnighters. Two years later a young man, Ernest Evans took the song and created a dance. Along the way he changed his name to Chubby Checker.

Couples started gyrating and twisting independent of each other like never before. The age of touch dancing was gone. Signaling a loosening of American society and traditional values, the Twist scandalized some Americans and invigorated others. Chubby Checker made the Twist an international sensation.



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